The Girlfriends Getaway Guide To D.C.
Chocolate city. Political playground. A historical wonderland. Yes, Washington D.C. is many things, including a city in the throes of major transformation, much like many American cities. There are institutions we frequent and hope they will never close, and new, shiny storefronts that seem to multiply. If you’re anything like me, one thing I’m always excited for in the wake of change, is food. From mambo sauce to steakhouse institutions, D.C. does casual to fanfare food very well. And many chefs are coming back to share their culinary talent as well.
If you’re headed to D.C. for the first time after many years, or open to exploring a bit of old and new, here are a few options to get you started. And because we thoroughly believe in the more the merrier, here are a few places to head with your friends for your girlfriend’s getaway.
WHERE TO STAY
D.C.’s newly developed Southwest waterfront community is like a city unto itself, with ample options for dining and views. For casual luxury with a prime location, check into the Mandarin Oriental. In the lobby, The Empress Lounge brings together both locals and visitors alike to enjoy afternoon tea, a little imbibing, and small plates. I recommend you try a spicy jalapeno margarita.
Of the 353 guest rooms and suites, waterfront view rooms are the best way to take in city. An extra perk worth investing in is the The Club Lounge, a private space on the 8th floor for guests to work, relax and enjoy a nightly Asian-inspired menu paired with house wines, spirits, and sake. After a full day of exploring DC’s historical sites, relax in the 10,000 square foot spa, including a 50-foot heated indoor pool. Another added bonus of this property? It’s just a 15-minute walk from National Museum of African-American History & Culture, a must visit and incredibly important experience when visiting D.C.
WHERE TO EAT
Chef Kwame Owuachi’s waterfront restaurant is a culinary gem. Fusing the best of West African and Caribbean cuisine, dishes at Kith and Kin include curry goat, jollof rice, and the star of the show: the fried whole snapper. The scene is lively and the food matches that energy. For cocktails, try the Papa Bois, with rye, rum, coconut water, pineapple shrub, and pimento bitters.
If you’re a fan of fresh seafood like ceviche and a lively dining atmosphere, make a reservation at Pisco y Nazca in DuPont Circle. The newly opened Miami chain offers ten different shareable ceviche plates, including an impressive tradicional with fish, leche de tigre, cancha, choclo and sweet potato. The conchitas a la parmesana — scallops with cheese sauce, lime and garlic chips on grilled Ciabatta bread — are worth a trip alone to Pisco Y Nazca. There are also Peruvian classics on the menu like lomo saltado, stir fried tenderloin with onion, tomato wedges, rice and fries.
This Italian restaurant in the Van Ness neighborhood features homemade pasta and a perfect brunch vibe. cranks out comfort dishes like lamb ragu over pappardelle and a squid ink linguine with huge chunks of lobster. Diners can even choose three pasta dishes family style, and if you want to get really decadent– get into the 72-hour short ribs.
Listen, this D.C. institution is not for the faint of heart. If you’re a lightweight, skip it. Why? Because here, cocktails are 95% alcohol, with the chaser served at a small shot glass size. Perhaps that’s why their dinosaur sized fried chicken wings are so popular. Besides being delicious, they also help soak up all that alcohol.
We can’t say for sure if your girls will be down to go anywhere except to bad after this smorgasboard of food and drink, but one thing’s for sure they won’t regret spending the weekend in our nation’s capital.